Do you believe the too-much-solicitation myth?

Don’t you love it when someone busts a myth?

Well, here’s a very big, much-believed myth that urgently needs busting and The Agitator is on the case: Dangerous Myth #1: Too Much Solicitation Causes Poor Retention.

It’s taken as gospel in many quarters that the more you talk to donors, the more annoyed they get, and the more quickly they walk away from you, driving down retention…

I can’t think of a more inaccurate claim or conclusion. Or one more potentially damaging to your bottom line if you blindly follow it. [The] claim contradicts virtually all of the retention research….

That’s right. There’s no proof that going to your donors a lot will chase them away. The myth arises from the fact that “too much solicitation” is one of the most common donors complaints, plus survey research that also finds donors making that complaint.

It just doesn’t bear out in real life.

More solicitation does not drive down retention.

You are in far more danger from under-solicitation. That’s a quick way to slash revenue and lower retention.

Rather than worrying about how often you communicate with donors and as a result lose revenue (and donors) by under-communicating, you should be worried about your relevance:

If your fundraising is organizationally focused bragging, you are oversoliciting — even if you hardly ever communicate with your donors.

If you aren’t thanking donors and reporting back to them on the impact of their giving, you are oversoliciting.

If you aren’t speaking your donors’ language because you believe it’s your duty to teach them to speak yours, you are oversoliciting.

Too much mail is not a number.

If you do it right, the more you ask, the more you’ll get. And the longer your donors will stay with you, (There is a point of diminishing returns, but very few organizations are even close to it.)


Comments

2 responses to “Do you believe the too-much-solicitation myth?”

  1. marjorie fine Avatar
    marjorie fine

    Not true. Stop treating all donors the same. So lazy. Separate your comments by segmenting between major donors and direct mail donors. Major donors will walk away from over asking. Research confirms this. Check the Chronicle. Thanks.

  2. marjorie fine Avatar
    marjorie fine

    Not true. Stop treating all donors the same. So lazy. Separate your comments by segmenting between major donors and direct mail donors. Major donors will walk away from over asking. Research confirms this. Check the Chronicle. Thanks.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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